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Maine History Online
MHS (Maine Historical Society)
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Rabbis

This Exhibit Contains 5 Items
1
Shaarey Tphiloh sale of furniture to rabbi, Portland, 1921

Shaarey Tphiloh sale of furniture to rabbi, Portland, 1921

Item 54183 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

Each rabbi in Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh's more than 100-year history brought his own approach to negotiating the relationship of the synagogue and its congregation to the larger community and to its Eastern European Orthodox roots.

Isaac Marcus was the first rabbi. David Essrig, who served as rabbi from 1917 to 1926, stressed training Jewish youth in the traditions of the religion, but he also used English, in part to appeal to youth who did not use Yiddish.

Abraham Miller, who became rabbi in 1930, served all Orthodox congregations in the area, a tradition that continued.


2
Invitation to vote for rabbi, Portland, ca. 1946

Invitation to vote for rabbi, Portland, ca. 1946

Item 80 info
Maine Historical Society

Mendell Lewittes, who was born in New York, and who became rabbi in 1936, was trained at Yeshiva University, the first Shaarey Tphiloh rabbi not trained in Europe. He served until 1942.

Dr. Aaron Greenbaum, who was the rabbi from 1942-1944, succeeded him.

In about 1946, the congregation was invited to vote for a new rabbi.

The invitation is written in Hebrew and English.


3
Rabbi installation announcement, Portland, 1948

Rabbi installation announcement, Portland, 1948

Item 54110 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

Morris Bekritsky was installed as rabbi in 1948 and served until 1972, an era that saw numerous changes in American society and in American Judaism.

The 1954 Golden Jubilee program notes that Bekritsky had helped the synagogue "soar to new heights" but that he had "continued and strengthened all of the programs initiated by his worthy predecessors."

He started a weekly radio program, "Hear O Israel," oversaw the building of the new synagogue away from the center city, pushed for a day-school program at the Portland Hebrew School, and helped give women a larger role in the synagogue.


4
Rabbi installation invitation, Portland, 1948

Rabbi installation invitation, Portland, 1948

Item 54115 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

Historian Michael R. Cohen wrote that Bekritsky "implemented a series of changes to demonstrate Shaarey Tphiloh's compatibility with the modern, suburban lifestyle."

He held Friday night services after people had finished work, rather than at sunset and offered more non-religious social events, among other changes.

All the while, however, Bekritsky also upheld Orthodox traditions including dietary laws.


5
Rabbi installation program, Portland, 1987

Rabbi installation program, Portland, 1987

Item 54105 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

Lawrence S. Zierler was installed at Shaarey Tphiloh Synagogue on November 8, 1987.

Rabbis from other Portland congregations were present. Rabbi Steven M. Dworken of Linden, N.J. performed the installation ceremony.

The back of the program contains the words to the Israel national anthem, in Hebrew.

Zierler, a native of Ontario, was educated Yeshiva University, as were most of the contemporary rabbis.


This Exhibit Contains 5 Items
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